On 17 March 2017, the European Commission granted the legal status of European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) to the e-Science and Technology European Infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (LifeWatch). With this measure, the EU provides the facility with many administrative advantages enjoyed by international organisations and therefore helps to successfully implement the infrastructure project.
LifeWatch is a "Big Data" e-infrastructure to support biodiversity and ecosystem research. It also aims to provide major contributions to addressing big environmental challenges such as climate change by providing access through a pan-European distributed e-infrastructure to large sets of data, services and tools that enable the creation of virtual laboratories and decision-support applications.
The community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is a specific legal form to facilitate the establishment and operation of research infrastructures with European interest. The Commission provides practical guidelines to help potential applicants. The principal task of ERIC is to establish and operate new or existing research infrastructures on a non-economic basis. The ERIC becomes a legal entity from the date the Commission decision setting up the ERIC takes effect.